(via Cardboard Crack.)
Magic: the Gathering first started being A Thing when I was about twelve. There were some guys in my class who’d play it during recess and lunchtime, and I remember watching them with this sense of yearning. Like, here was something I really, really wanted to learn… and yet knew I “couldn’t” because it “wasn’t for girls”.
(To be fair to the boys, I never actually approached them about it, so I don’t know how they would’ve reacted. They weren’t really my friends in the class, but I suppose it’s possible they would’ve taught me to play, a la the boy who’d taught me DnD years earlier. Who knows.)
Less than six months later, in high school, I found a girl who played and bought my Very First Deck. Then I discovered starter decks came with rulebooks that, yanno. Explained how to play the game.
I don’t know why that hadn’t occurred to me before. Like, I’d just assumed I’d need another person to teach me.
Anyway. That’s the story of how I spent most of high school playing MtG.
I don’t play much any more. I think the last time was nearly a decade ago, when my not-then-yet-husband needed another player to complete numbers in a draft he was playing up in Rockhampton. I was the only girl, had never played real “tournament rules”,1 and ended up coming second overall after assembling a mono-black deck almost entirely comprised of unblockable creatures. The only guy I lost to had an artefact minion producer (artefacts could, in fact, block my creatures).
Sometimes I still worry about that win. Like, I caught myself making stupid noob errors every now and again, and I’m totally paranoid I made more I didn’t catch–and that people didn’t call me on, because I was “the girl”–and that was why I “won”. Hi there, impostor syndrome!
Anyway. That was the last time I played MtG, more or less.
A few years later, in Wollongong, I was in the resident Nerd Shop with my husband and a friend who were entering another draft. The only other girl in the shop, probably about a decade my junior, ran up to me and, very excited, asked if I was going to play.
I was kind of a jerk to that girl. Actually, no kind of about it: I was a jerk. In my defence, by then I was very sick of being the “token girl” in the gaming group and poked and prodded like an oddity. But that didn’t excuse being an asshole about it to the one girl who actually was there to play.
So, sorry, random girl in the Nerd Shop in Wollongong. Know that, while I may never meet you again, I still regret what I said. I should’ve known better.
Sometimes, progress starts at home.
- We had house rules at high school that included things like being able to put down as many land a turn as you wanted which, as you can imagine, really changed the game.